CDC updates mask guidelines, school districts await guidance as new academic year approaches
DELMARA.- The CDC has now recommended those fully vaccinated wear masks again indoors, in places with high Covid-19 transmission rates.
Wicomico County is currently in the moderate transmission stage and the health department says that although the area isn’t a big target, the new guidance is something those on the Eastern Shore shouldn’t take lightly. “Even if you are fully vaccinated and you don’t live in a county with substantial or high rates of transmission that you may still chose to wear a mask when you’re in an indoor setting particularly if you know that you had close contact with somebody who’s unvaccinated or someone who would be at a higher risk of complications if they contracted the virus,” said Community Health Nurse for Wicomico County Health Department’s Kate Schulz.
There is one key component relevant to the county, and that’s how fully vaccinated individuals should proceed after being exposed to someone who’s tested positive. “It’s recommended you get tested 3 to 5 days after your exposure and you wear a mask when you’re in a indoor setting either until you get your results assuming that they’re negative. If you choose not to get tested, it’s recommended that you wear the mask in doors for the full 14-day incubation period after exposure,” said Schulz.
The updated guidelines also recommend that everyone over the age of 2 wear masks in schools regardless of vaccination status.
Talbot County Public Schools says right now masks are not required, but say it’s too early to tell if that will be the case when school starts. “We haven’t made any changes yet. School doesn’t start till August 30th so we have time to see how things play out before we make those decisions and we’ll be looking to health officials for further direction as well,” said Coordinator of Public Relations Programs Debbie Gardner.
Despite the increasing circulation of the Delta variant and the decline of vaccinations statewide and locally, school officials say they’re up for the challenge as student’s safety is their top priority.
“We’re learned a lot but we really don’t know what’s up ahead. So it’s going to be more pivoting as our superintendent says,” said Gardner.
The health department says they want to keep communication open with the community, providing information and connecting with people the best way possible.
Schools officials say that though there isn’t a mask mandate for school grounds, everyone is required to wear them on school buses as that is a federal law.
The school districts adds that further plans are pending guidance from the Maryland Department of Health and other recommendations from the CDC.